Secretary Napolitano Announces Initiatives to Promote Startup Enterprises and Spur Job Creation

Release Date: August 2, 2011

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

WASHINGTON—Secretary of Homeland Security  Janet Napolitano and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)  Director Alejandro Mayorkas today outlined a series of policy, operational, and outreach efforts to fuel the nation's economy and stimulate investment by attracting foreign entrepreneurial talent ofexceptional ability or who otherwise can create jobs, form startup companies, and invest capital in areas of high unemployment.

"The United States must continue to attract the best and brightest from around the world to invest their talents, skills, and ideas to grow our  economy and create American jobs," said Secretary Napolitano." Today's announcements will help our nation fully realize the potential of  existing immigration laws."

"Current immigration laws support  foreign talent who will invest their capital, create new jobs for  American workers, and dedicate their exceptional talent to the growth of our nation's economy," said Director Mayorkas. "USCIS is dedicated to  ensuring that the potential of our immigration laws is fully realized, and the initiatives we announce today are an important step forward."

These actions mark the six-month anniversary of Startup America, a White House-led initiative to reduce barriers and accelerate growth for America's job-creating entrepreneurs. They have also been one key focus of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which has  recommended taking action to help ensure that America can out-innovate  and out-compete the world in a global economy.

USCIS has published a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document on its website clarifying that entrepreneurs may obtain an employment-based second preference (EB-2)  immigrant visa if they satisfy the existing requirements, and also may qualify for a National Interest Waiver under the EB-2 immigrant visa  category if they can demonstrate that their business endeavors will be  in the interest of the United States. USCIS will complement these FAQs  with internal training on the unique characteristics of entrepreneurial  enterprises and startup companies and incorporate input from the  upcoming stakeholder engagements detailed below.

The EB-2 visa classification includes foreign workers with advanced degrees and  individuals of exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business. Generally, an EB-2 visa petition requires a job offer and a Department  of Labor certification. These requirements can be waived under existing  law if the petitioner demonstrates that approval of the EB-2 visa  petition would be in the national interest of the United States.

In response to stakeholder feedback, USCIS has also updated  existing FAQs to clarify that an H-1B beneficiary who is the sole owner  of the petitioning company may establish a valid employer-employee  relationship for the purposes of qualifying for an H-1B nonimmigrant  visa – which is used by U.S. businesses to employ foreign workers in  specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in  specialized fields, such as science, engineering, and computer programming.

The EB-5  immigrant investor program is also being further enhanced by transforming the intake and review process. In May, USCIS proposed fundamental enhancements to streamline the EB-5 process which include: extending the  availability of premium processing for certain EB-5 applications and petitions, implementing direct lines of communication between the  applicants and USCIS, and providing applicants with the opportunity for an interview before a USCIS panel of experts to resolve outstanding  issues in an application. After reviewing stakeholder feedback on the  proposal, USCIS is developing a phased plan to roll out these  enhancements and is poised to begin implementing the first of these  enhancements within 30 days.

Created by Congress in 1990, the  program stimulates the U.S. economy through capital investment and  resulting job creation by immigrant investors. As of June 30, 2011, it is estimated that the program has resulted in more than $1.5 billion in  capital investments and created at least 34,000 jobs.

USCIS has also announced the expansion of its Premium Processing Service  to immigrant petitions for multinational executives and managers (often  referred to as "E13"). The Premium Processing Service allows employers to expedite processing of their petitions, absent evidentiary  deficiencies, fraud or national security concerns.

Finally, USCIS is launching a new series of engagement opportunities for entrepreneurs  and startup companies. These opportunities will focus on soliciting input from stakeholders on how USCIS can address the unique  circumstances of entrepreneurs, new businesses and startup companies  through its policies and regulations in the employment-based arena. For detailed information on USCIS's public meetings, please visit

For more information, visit

Siyuan Chang